Digital Literacy Resource for Seniors
The pandemic has changed the way people stay connected with loved ones in an unprecedented way. Holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and even catching up with friends have suddenly gone almost completely digital in order to keep everyone safe and adhere to physical distancing regulations!
Unfortunately, for more vulnerable populations like seniors, necessary safety precautions like physical distancing, can lead individuals to feel isolated. These feelings can have major negative repercussions on a person's mental health as well as their physical health. "A recent study showed that social disconnection puts older adults at greater risk of depression and anxiety, and can even lead to health problems such as cognitive decline and heart disease. People with strong social bonds are 50 per cent less likely to suffer negative effects from isolation than those who have fewer social connections." (ABC Life Literacy Canada, New digital literacy resources aim to help older adults cope with physical distancing, abclifeliteracy.ca)
So why are more seniors not connecting with loved ones online?
In 2012, a survey that assessed an individual's proficiency with problem solving in a technology-rich environment found that about half of Ontario residents between the ages of 55-65 scored at the lowest levels of proficiency. This means that many seniors are not getting online simply because they just don't know how to!
There's good news though! There is a free resource available to seniors designed to improve their digital literacy skills. Connected Canadians offers one-to-one sessions with a tech-savvy volunteer, wherein clients can learn how to video chat, text, use social media, and more! Connected Canadians offers a range of programs that can address an individual's challenges with technology. Learn more by clicking here.
Statistics Canada. Table 37-10-0050-01 Problem-solving in technology-rich environments - Distribution of non-respondents and proficiency levels, by labour force status, highest level of education and age group
ABC Life Literacy Canada, New digital literacy resources aim to help older adults cope with physical distancing, abclifeliteracy.ca